Transportation headlines, Friday, April 29

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

America’s transport infrastructure: life in the slow lane (The Economist)

This must-read article from The Economist takes a long hard look at at the current state of American’s transportation infrastructure and comes up with a gloomy picture of massive underinvestment — with no solution in sight. The article succinctly states, “America, despite its wealth and strength, often seems to be falling apart.” That sentence sums up the paradoxical fact that despite America’s status as world superpower, it trails other countries in almost every category – from commute times to train speeds. The reason? We’re simply not spending enough on transportation – public spending on transport infrastructure has fallen while the population continues to grow.

A station along the Zhongshan BRT route. Photo via Wikipedia Commons.

How speedy buses totally changed China’s third largest city (GOOD)

Here’s a look at how a smartly designed, fully-separated bus rapid transit (BRT) lane transformed a ridiculously congested major thoroughfare in Guangzhou, China, into a vibrant and functional commercial street. It’s worth clicking the link just to see the before and after pictures. The transformed street is called Zhongshan Avenue and the BRT line that opened in 2010 carries over 800,00 riders each day – with a bus coming by every 10 seconds during peak hours! The BRT stations include bike parking, bike sharing systems and a system of tunnels and walkways connecting the BRT (which sits in the middle of Zhongshan Avenue) to the rest of the city. Maybe Wilshire Boulevard could learn something from Zhongshan Avenue?

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announces $100 million for California to purchase American-made rail cars and locomotives (U.S. DOT)

One hundred million dollars is coming to California so the state can buy American-made trains for the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin lines on Amtrak, both of which have seen a huge increase in ridership over the past decade. That money will buy 27 passenger rail cars and two locomotives.